Sports

MVP Jones selected to All-WNBA First Team

Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones, the 2021 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Most Valuable Player (MVP), has been unanimously selected to the 2021 All-WNBA First Team.

The Bahamian post player, who led her team to within two games of advancing to the WNBA Finals, was named on all 49 ballots for the first team, which was done by voting from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. This marks the All-WNBA First Team debut for Jones, who was previously selected to the second team twice.

Jones secured a total of 245 points – the maximum number of points available.

Joining her on the 2021 All-WNBA First Team are Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith (212), center Brittney Griner (197), Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (197) and guard Jewell Loyd (150). This is the sixth All-WNBA selection for Griner, the fifth for Diggins-Smith and the fourth for Stewart, with each player named to the First Team for the third time. For Loyd, this is her first selection to the All-WNBA First Team and her second All-WNBA honor overall.

The 2021 All-WNBA Second Team consists of Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson (177 points), Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles (148), Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale (134), Washington Mystics forward Tina Charles (118) and Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot (111).

Voting for the All-WNBA first and second teams was conducted at the conclusion of the regular season. Players were selected by position and received five points for each first team vote and three points for each second team vote. Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position where they received the most votes.

In her fifth WNBA season, Jones averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.26 blocked shots and 1.26 steals. The 6’6” post player for the Sun led the WNBA in rebounding and ranked fourth in scoring and 10th in blocks. Behind Jones, the Sun posted the highest-winning percentage in franchise history (.813), the WNBA’s best win/loss record (26-6) and had a 14-game winning streak to finish the regular season – the longest winning streak to end a season in WNBA history, and the fourth-longest winning streak in league history.

Jones was one of two players to average a double-double on the season, the other being WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Sylvia Fowles. Jones’ 8.7 defensive boards per game also led the league. She dished out 2.8 assists, and defensively, she was in the top 10 in the league with 1.3 blocked shots and 1.3 steals per game.

Those defensive numbers had her listed as tied for third for the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Jones was named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team for the second time in her career.

Jones was also unanimously chosen as the Associated Press’ (AP) WNBA Player of the Year.

For her league-best in rebounds this season, she won the WNBA Peak Performer Award in that category – the third time in her career after doing so in 2017 and again in 2019.

Over the 27 games she played in this season, Jones secured a double-double in 18 of them to lead the league in that category. Offensively, she scored in double-figures in all but one of those 27 games. The sixth overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft made her third career all-star appearance this season, and was a runner-up in the WNBA Three-Point Contest – her first time participating in that competition.

Jones and the Sun were eliminated by the Chicago Sky in the WNBA semifinals, who went on to win the WNBA title over the Mercury on Sunday.

The Sky took down both the Sun and the Mercury in four games.

As for the All-WNBA selections, in honor of their accomplishments, each member will receive cash awards. The All-WNBA First Team members will receive $10,300 each, and each member of the second team will receive $5,150.

This season, Jones, who hails from Holmes Rock, Grand Bahama, made history as she became the first Bahamian athlete to be named MVP of a major professional sports organization. She was one of the league’s top players coming into this season, winning the WNBA’s Most Improved Player (MIP) Award in 2017 and the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Award in 2018. She is the first WNBA player to win all three awards, and is the second non-American to be named WNBA MVP behind Lauren Jackson of Australia – a three-time winner.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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